Treatment of electric vehicle battery waste in China: A review of existing policies

    Wenbo Li Affiliation
    ; Muyi Yang Affiliation
    ; Ruyin Long Affiliation
    ; Kristy Mamaril Affiliation
    ; Yuanying Chi Affiliation


This paper reviews existing policies for supporting the treatment of electric vehicle (EV) battery waste in China, and identifies some of their major shortcomings that policy makers may like to consider while making policy decisions. The shortcomings of existing policies identified in this paper include: 1) no clear provisions for historical and orphan batteries; 2) no target for battery collection; 3) unclear definition of the scope of authority among various central and local agencies involved in the regulation of waste battery treatment; 4) unclear requirements for data auditing and verification for tracking the entire life cycle of EV batteries; 5) limited consideration of the challenges to ensure stakeholder cooperation; and 6) no explicit specification of the mechanisms for financing waste battery treatment. This paper also makes some practical policy suggestions for overcoming these shortcomings.

Keyword : electric vehicles, extended producer responsibility, waste battery treatment, reuse, recycling, policy

How to Cite
Li, W., Yang, M., Long, R., Mamaril, K., & Chi, Y. (2021). Treatment of electric vehicle battery waste in China: A review of existing policies. Journal of Environmental Engineering and Landscape Management, 29(2), 111-122.
Published in Issue
May 13, 2021
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads

This work is licensed under a .


Agrawal, A., & Sahu, K. K. (2009). An overview of the recovery of acid from spent acidic solutions from steel and electroplating industries. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 171(1–3), 61–75.

Arora, S., & Kapoor, A. (2018). Mechanical design and packaging of battery packs for electric vehciles. In G. Pistoia & B. Liaw (Eds.), Behaviour of Lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles (pp. 175–200). Green Energy and Technology. Springer.

Baumhofer, T., Bruhl, M., Rothgang, S., & Sauer, D. U. (2014). Production caused variation in capacity aging trend and correlation to initial cell performance. Journal of Power Sources, 247, 332–338.

Bie, F. (2019, December 02). Beware of battery recycling “bad money drives out good money”. China Energy News. People’s Daily. China.

Cui, H. (2017). Subsidy fraud leads to reforms for China’s EV market. The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). United States.

D1EV. (2018). Eight policy suggestions on electric vehcile battery recycling. China.

D1EV. (2020). Fatal battery: Why is 90% of the wasted battery missing? China.

Danino-Perraud, R. (2020). The recycling of lithium-ion batteries: A strategic pillar for the European Battery Alliance. The Institut francais des relations internationales (IFRI), France.

DeRousseau, M., Gully, B., Taylor, C., Apelian, D., & Wang, Y. (2017). Repurposing used electric car batteries: A review of options. The Journal of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS), 69, 1575–1582.

Dominish, E., Teske, S., & Florin, N. (2019). Responsible minerals sourcing for renewable energy. Institute for Sustainable Futures, Sydney.

Elwert, T., Romer, F., Schneider, K., Hua, Q., & Buchert, M. (2018). Recycling of batteries from electric vehicles. In G. Pistoia & B. Liaw (Eds.), Behaviour of Lithium-ion batteries in electric vehciles (pp. 289–321). Green Energy and Technology. Springer.

Engel, H., Hertzke, P., & Siccardo, G. (2019). Second-life EV batteries: The newest value pool in energy storage. McKinsey & Company.

Fuminori, T., Boyaci, T., & Verter, V. (2011). An analysis of monopolistic and competitive take-back schemes for WEEE recycling. Production and Operations Management, 20(6), 805–823.

Gaines, L. (2014). The future of automotive lithium-ion battery recycling: Charting a sustainable course. Sustainable Materials and Technologies, 1–2, 2–7.

Georgi-Maschler, T., Friedrich, B., Weyhe, R., Heegn, H., & Rutz, M. (2012). Development of a recycling process for Liion batteries. Journal of Power Sources, 207, 173–182.

Gupt, Y., & Sahay, S. (2015). Review of extended producer responsibility: A case study approach. Waste Management & Research, 33(7), 595–611.

Han, L., He, D., Liu, A., & Ma, D. (2014). Adcances in secondary use research of power li-ion battery. Chinese Journal of Power Sources, 38, 548–550.

Hancock, T. (2019). Bankruptcing and slowdown hang over China’s electric car market. Financial Times.

Harper, G., Sommerville, R., Kendrick, E., Driscoll, L., Slater, P., Stolkin, R., Walton, A., Christensen, P., Heidrich, O., Lambert, S., Abbott, A., Ryder, K., Gaines, L., & Anderson, P. (2019). Recycling lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles. Nature, 575, 75–86.

Huang, B., Pan, Z., Su, X., & An, L. (2018). Recycling of lithiumion batteries: Recent advances and perspectives. Journal of Power Sources, 399, 274–286.

International Energy Agency. (2020a). Global EV Outlook 2020. International Energy Agency, Paris.

International Energy Agency. (2020b). Transport: Improving the sustainability of passenger and freight transport. International Energy Agency, Paris.

Institute for Energy Research. (2019). The afterlife of electric vehicles: Battery recycling and repurposing. Institute for Energy Research, Washington D.C.

Jiang, D., Su, C., Fang, S., Yuan, R., & Chang, G. (2020). China’s wasted mobility battery recycling industry: Current status and policy measures. Auto Time. China.

Khetriwal, D. S., Kraeuchi, P., & Widmer, R. (2009). Producer responsibility for e-waste management: Key issues for consideration – learning from the Swiss experience. Journal of Environmental Management, 90(1), 153–165.

Larouche, F., Tedjar, F., Amouzegar, K., Houlachi, G., Bouchard, P., Demopoulos, G. P., & Zaghib, K. (2020). Progress and status of hydrometallurgical and direct recycling of li-ion batteries and beyond. Materials, 13(3), 801.

Leclerc, S. H., & Badami, M. G. (2020). Extended producer responsibility for E-waste management: Policy drivers and challenges. Journal of Cleaner Production, 251, 119657.

Leonzio, G. (2016). Recovery of metal sulphates and hydrochloric acid from spent pickling liquors. Journal of Cleaner Production, 129, 417–426.

Li, J., Wang, G., & Xu, Z. (2016). Environmentally-friendly oxygen-free roasting/wet magnetic separation technology for in situ recycling cobalt, lithium carbonate and graphite from spent LiCoO2/graphite lithium batteries. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 302, 97–104.

Li, K., & Li, Z. (2020). Electric vehcile battery recycling in China: Current status, emerging issues and policy suggestions. EnergyTrend, China.

Li, L., Dunn, J. B., Zhang, X. X., Gaines, L., Chen, R. J., Wu, F., & Amine, K. (2013). Recovery of metals from spent lithium-ion batteries with organic acids as leaching reagents and environmental assessment. Journal of Power Sources, 233, 180–189.

Li, W., Yang, M., & Sandu, S. (2018). Electric vehicles in China: A review of current policies. Energy & Environment, 29(8), 1512–1524.

Lifset, R., Atasu, A., & Tojo, N. (2013). Extended producer responsibility: National, International, and practical perspectives. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 17(2), 162–166.

Lindhqvist, T. (1992). Extended producer responsibility as a strategy to promote cleaner products. Lund University.

Martinez-Laserna, E., Gandiaga, I., Sarasketa-Zabala, E., Badeda, J., Stroe, D. I., Swierczynski, M., & Goikoetxea, A. (2018). Battery second life: Hype, hope or reality? A critical review of the state of the art. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 93, 701–718.

Mayyas, A., Steward, D., & Mann, M. (2018). The case for recycling: Overview and challenges in the material supply chain for automotive li-ion batteries. Sustainable Materials and Technologies, 17, e00087.

Melin, E. (2019). State-of-the-art in reuse and recycling of lithium-ion batteries – A research review. Circular Energy Storage, Sweden.

Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. (2018a). Interim measures for the traceability administration of recycling traction batteries of new energy vehicles. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Beijing.

Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. (2018b). Notice on organising and lanuching the pilot program of recycling traction batteries of new energy vehicles. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Beijing.

Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. (2018c). Notice on the release of the interim measures for the management of recycling and utilisation of power batteries of new energy vehicles. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Beijing.

Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. (2019a). Guide to the construction and operation of new energy vehicle power battery recycling service network. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Beijing.

Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. (2019b). Requirements of the industry standards for the comprehensive utilisation of waste power storage batteries of new energy vehicles. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Beijing.

Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. (2020). Provisions on the access administration of new energy vehicle manufacturers and products. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Beijing.

Muhammad, Y., & Lee, W. (2019). Zero-liquid discharge (ZLD) technology for resource recovery from wastewater: A review. Science of the Total Environment, 681, 551–563.

National Development and Reform Commission. (2016). Electric vehicle battery recycling technology policy. National Development and Reform Commission, Beijing.

Neubauer, J., Smith, K., Wood, E., & Pesaran, A. (2015). Identifying and overcoming critical barriers to widespread second use of PEV batteries. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, United States.

Nykvist, B., & Nilsson, M. (2015). Repaidly falling costs of battery packs for electric vehicles. Nature Climate Change, 5, 329–332.

OECD. (2001). Extended producer responsibility: A guidance manual for governments. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris.

Ordonez, J., Gago, E. J., & Girard, A. (2016). Processes and technologies for the recycling and recovery of spent lithiumion batteries. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 60, 195–205.

Orient Securities. (2020). Mobility battery recycling. China.

Park, J., Diaz-Posada, N., & Mejia-Dugand, S. (2018). Challenges in implementing the extended producer responsibility in an emerging economy: The end-of-life tire management in Colombia. Journal of Cleaner Production, 189, 754–762.

Pouikli, K. (2020). Concretising the role of extended producer responsibility in European Union waste law and policy through the lens of the circular economy. ERA Forum, 20, 491–508.

Qiao, Q., Zhao, F., Liu, Z., & Hao, H. (2019). Electric vehicle recycling in China: Economic and environmental benefits. Resources, Conservation & Recycling, 140, 45–53.

Rezvanizaniani, S. M., Liu, Z., Chen, Y., & Lee, J. (2014). Review and recent advances in battery health monitoring and prognostics technologies for electric vehcile (EV) safety and mobility. Journal of Power Sources, 256, 110–124.

Sachs, N. (2006). Planning the funeral at the birth: Extended producer responsibility in the European Union and the United States. Harvard Environmental Law Review, 30, 51–98.

Saez-De-Ibarra, A., Martinez-Laserna, E., Stroe, D. I., Swierczynski, M., & Rodriguez, P. (2016). Sizing study of second life li-ion batteries for enhancing renewable energy grid integration. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Application, 52(6), 4999–5007.

Skeete, J.-P., Wells, P., Dong, X., Heidrich, O., & Harper, G. (2020). Beyond the EVend horizon: Battery waste, recycling, and sustainability in the United Kingdom electric vehicle transition. Energy Research and Sociel Science, 69, 101581.

Standardisation Administration of China. (2020). The database of national standards. China.

State Council. (2012). Notice of the State Council on issuing the planning for the development of the energy-saving and new energy automobile industry (2012–2020). Beijing.

State Council. (2014). Guiding opinions of the general office of the State Council on accelerating promotion and application of new-energy automobiles. Beijing.

Sun, G. (2018, Septermber 06). Resolving the development problems of the electric vehcile battery industry. Economic Times. Xinhua, China.

Tang, Y., Zhang, Q., Li, Y., Wang, G., & Li, Y. (2018). Recycling mechanisms and policy suggestions for spent electric vehicles’ power battery – A case of Beijing. Journal of Cleaner Production, 186, 388–406.

Udemans, C., & Shen, J. (2020). Nio lives! How Nio (and the EV sector) rose, fell, and are getting bailed out. TechNode, China.

Viscusi, W. K., Huber, J., & Bell, J. (2011). Promoting recycling: private values, social norms, and economic incentives. American Economic Review, 101(3), 65–70.

Walls, M. (2006). Extended producer responsibility and product design: Economic theory and selected case studies (RFF Discussion Paper No. 06-08). Paris.

Wang, S., & Ge, M. (2019). Everthing you need to know about the fastest-growing source of global emissions: Transport. World Resource Institute, United States.

Xiao, J., Li, J., & Xu, Z. (2017). Recycling metals from lithiumion battery by mechanical separation and vacuum metallurgy. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 338, 124–131.

Yang, T., Lu, Y., Li, L., Ge, D., Yang, H., Leng, W., Zhou, H., Han, X., Schmidt, N., Ellis, M., & Li, Z. (2019). An effective relithiation process for recycling lithium-ion battery cathode materials. Advanced Sustainable Systems, 4(1), 1900088.

Zeng, X., Li, J., & Liu, L. (2015). Solving spent lithium-ion battery problems in China: Opportunities and challenges. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 52, 1759–1767.

Zhang, H., Huang, J., & Shen, D. (2020a, February 17). Improvements required for the recycling system of wasted electric vehcile battery. China Energy News. People’s Daily. China.

Zhang, L., Liu, Y., Pang, B., Sun, B., & Kokko, A. (2020b). Second use value of China’s new energy vehicle battery: A view based on multi-scenario simulation. Sustainability, 12(1), 341.

Zheng, X., Lin, Z., Guo, F., & Huang, H. (2019). Research on echelon use of power battery. Chinese Journal of Power Sources, 43(4), 702–705.